Another step towards roadside evidential breathalysers – MEBTI competition Stage 2

Another step towards roadside evidential breathalysers – MEBTI competition Stage 2

The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has been awarded a grant by the Secretary of State for Transport to run a competition to encourage the development of mobile evidential breath testing instruments (sometimes referred to as roadside evidential breathalysers) which meet Home Office type approval requirements.

The competition aims to result in one or more type approved instruments which can be operated by police forces throughout the UK by July 2020. It involves three stages with up to £350,000 awarded in total to one or more manufacturers over the three stages.[1]

This competition is entirely additional to the routine procedures for gaining type approval. It is intended to provide an additional incentive to companies to develop MEBTI instruments. It does not alter the routine procedures in any way and companies may proceeded with the routine procedures quite independently of the PACTS MEBTI competition and timetable if they wish.

Stage 1 of the competition was designed to incentivise companies to develop instruments that would achieve type approval by mid-2020. Five companies submitted bids for a share of the £140,000 grant available  and two companies, Lion Laboratories and Intoximers, were awarded of grants of £70,000 each. This was announced by Jesse Norman MP, the Minister of State for Transport, today (14 December 2018).

Applicants are now invited to participate in Stage 2 of the competition which is open to any applicant, regardless of whether they participated in, or were given an award, in Stage 1.

Stage 2 consists of two parts, and applicants may submit to either or both parts.

Stage 2, Part 1 – Existing Instruments

Applicants are invited to submit instruments for police user trial. These must be manufactured instruments, not prototypes.

Any submitted instrument must:

  • Quantify ethanol in breath to at least an accuracy of 0.1 µg/100 ml across a minimum range of 0 – 200 µg/100 ml.
  • Differentiate between ethanol from deep lung air and the upper respiratory tract.
  • Not be influenced by interfering substance including methanol and ethyl acetate.
  • Function in a roadside environment subject to electromagnetic frequencies up to 6 GHz.

following the specifications set out in the Requirements Document issued for Stage 1 of the competition.

Applicants are invited to submit a statement of compliance and submission of evidence, with sufficient equipment and consumable items to be provided for a police user trial to:

Please contact Dave Snelling [] at the DfT who can provide contact details for the Police Forces who are willing to participate in the trials. The equipment should then be delivered directly to the relevant Police Force.

For consideration for an award from the MEBTI competition run by PACTS, instruments should be delivered to the police no later than 30th June 2019 (Extended to 31 July 2019). In addition to submitting the instruments to the police for trials, a brief application should also be summited to PACTS. (See below for further information.)

Instruments may be submitted to the police for trials at any point, in the usual way, before or after the above June date. This date refers only to the PACTS competition.

Stage 2, Part 2 – Encouraging innovation

Applicants are invited to submit innovative proposals which demonstrate significant wider applicability, portability, cost savings to the users, or other such advantages. Ideally, these will meet the criteria set out for Stage 1 and the Requirements Document. Evidence of progress or intent towards production will be an advantage. These do not need to be actual or prototype instruments, although this would be an additional advantage and such instruments are not excluded.

Where applicable, applicants should submit a documentation package outlining their plans (including timelines, milestones, details of potential test houses to be used) for submitting a device for trials and type approval that meets the measurement specifications. These are detailed in the Requirements Document.

Applications for Part 2 should be submitted by 30th September 2019 (Extended to 30 November 2019) to:

PACTS, Buckingham Court, 75/83 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6PE

Applications for Stage 2 will be assessed by a panel of experts. Up to £105,000 will be awarded at this stage. The number of grants and the division between Parts 1 and 2 will be decided by the panel once applications have been assessed.

UPDATE – JULY 2019: One device (three in total), supplied by Lion, is currently undergoing police field trials with three police forces (Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Devon and Cornwall).

Details of Stage 3 will be announced in due course.

Further information

Potential applicants are encouraged to register their interest and further information, including the Requirements Document, can be provided. Contact David Davies, Executive Director, PACTS.

Issued by PACTS, 14 December 2018

[1] This competition is entirely additional to the police field trials and type approval procedures operated by Dstl for the Home Office. It is not a part of type approval and does not affect those normal procedures. Companies are welcome to submit bids for competition grants but there is no requirement to do so. They should proceed with type approval procedures as normal.

For information on Stage 1, see

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